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Indepth Arts News:

"John Henry Blatter: Video Installations"
2001-06-25 until 2001-09-02
Columbus Museum of Art
Columbus, OH, USA United States of America

In this exhibition of video installation work by John Henry Blatter, the Museum continues its long tradition of presenting and collecting the work of local artists. The show is the first of three one-person exhibitions of work by Columbus artists, to be held at the Museum and sponsored by the Greater Columbus Arts Council (GCAC). GCAC's sponsorship of this series of biannual exhibitions will also allow the Museum to purchase a work from each exhibition for its permanent collection.

This generous grant allows the Museum an opportunity to continue its tradition of celebrating, and honoring local artists through the exhibition and acquisition of their work, says Annegreth Nill, the Museum's curator of 20th-century and contemporary art. Blatter recently received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from The Ohio State University. I am very excited that John will inaugurate the series, explains Nill. He is a young artist just embarking on his professional career, yet his work already demonstrates a remarkable depth and originality. It deals with basic human issues that everyone can relate to. Blatter's work explores questions of identity in an age when media, particularly TV, pervades-and sometimes invades-all aspects of our daily lives.

In Untitled (shoving), the artist is the subject, as is often the case in Blatter's video installations. The work consists of a bathroom sink mounted on a free-standing wall and a TV monitor placed sideways on the wall in the position of a vanity mirror. The video is of myself coming into the bathroom and performing my ritual of shaving, so that as the viewers stand at the sink, it is my reflection, not theirs, they see in the mirror, explains Blatter. The beard has been a way of creating a mask to hide from the world who I really am, he continues. Shaving is for me a ritualistic unmasking and I wanted to do it in away that the viewers could experience an unmasking of their own. The GCAC sponsorship also includes funds for the Museum to commission the artist to create a new work for the exhibition. This forward-looking approach to presenting local artists is integral to the project, says Nill. We are able not only to show what the artist has accomplished, but also to give the public the chance to see what the artist is up to right now.

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